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Literacy Strategies

Anticipation Guide

Rationale

The anticipation guide involves giving students a list of statements about the topic to be studied and asking them to respond to them before reading and learning, and then again after reading and learning. The anticipation guide strategy is suited to information that is verifiable. Anticipation guides can activate prior knowledge of text topics and help students set purposes for reading and learning (Duffelmeyer & Baum, 1992; Merkley, 1996/97). 


Videos

Reading Rockets


Websites

Instructional Strategies Online

Read-Write-Think

Reading Rockets

Brainstorming

Rationale

Brainstorming involves students working together to generate ideas quickly without stopping to judge their worth.  In brainstorming, students in pairs or groups freely exchange ideas and lists in response to an open-ended question, statement, problem, or other prompt.  Students try to generate as many ideas as possible, often building on a comment or idea from another participant.  This supports creativity and leads to expanded possibilities. The process activates students’ relevant prior knowledge, allows them to benefit from the knowledge and experience of others, and creates an anticipatory mental set for new learning (Buehl, 2001; Dreher, 2000).


Videos

PBS Kids - Design Squad


Websites

Instructional Strategies Online

PBS Kids

DL-TA: Directed Learning-Thinking Activity

Rationale

DL-TA is an instructional approach that invites students to make predictions, and then check their predictions during and after the learning (Stauffer, 1980).  DL-TA is an effective generic process applicable to any information source, such as text, video, lecture, lab experiment, and Web-based content.  DL-TA teaches students how to self-monitor as they learn, which leads to an increase in attention, comprehension, and achievement (Duke & Pearson, 2002).

Discussion

Rationale

Samuel Johnson once said “The seeds of knowledge may be planted in solitude, but must be cultivated in public” (Boswell, 1979, p. 121).  The point is that students can improve learning and remembering when they participate in the dialog about class topics (Alvermann, O’Brien, & Dillon, 1990).  Class discussion can be used to promote deeper processing of content and rehearsal of newly learned content (Green, 2000; Larson, 1999).  To be effective, discussion strategies should be identifiable, purposeful, planned, and adequately described (Fisher, Frey, & Rothenberg, 2008).

ExamplesThink-Pair-Share (Kagan), Round Robin (Kagan), Inside-Outside Circles (Kagan), Fishbowl, Socratic Seminar


Videos

Fishbowl Discussion - Charlotte's Web

Inside-Outside Circle - YouTube

Socratic Seminar - Teaching Channel

Socratic Seminar (2) - Teaching Channel

Think-Pair-Share - Teaching Channel

Think-Pair-Share - YouTube


Websites

Fishbowl - Annenberg Learner

Fishbowl - ITC

Inside-Outside Circle

Round Robin

Socratic Seminar - ReadWriteThink

Think-Pair-Share - TeacherVision

DR-TA: Directed Reading-Thinking Activity

Rationale

DR-TA is identical to the DL-TA process only focused exclusively on text reading.  It includes the same goals and processes as DL-TA in that it is an instructional approach that invites students to make predictions, and then check their predictions, in this case, during and after the reading (Stauffer, 1980).  The DR-TA teaches students how to self-monitor as they read and learn, which leads to an increase in attention, comprehension, and achievement (Duke & Pearson, 2002).


Videos

DR-TA - YouTube

 


Websites

Literacy Strategies

Reading Educator

Reading Rockets

 

GISTing

Rationale

The ability to summarize is perhaps the most important subskill involved in comprehension (Caccamise & Snyder, 2005; Friend, 2000).  But it’s a difficult skill to teach.  Unskilled students are prone to say too little or too much in their summaries (Thiede & Anderson, 2003). GISTing is an excellent strategy for helping students paraphrase and summarize essential information. Students are required to limit the gist of a paragraph to a set number of words. Individual sentences from a paragraph are presented one at a time while students create a gist that must contain only the predetermined number of words.  By limiting the total number of words students can use, this approach to summarizing forces them to think about only the most important information in a paragraph, which is the essence of comprehension (Brown & Day, 1983).  


Videos

Get the Gist - YouTube


Websites

Vermillion Parish resources

Graphic Organizers

Rationale

Graphic organizers are visual displays teachers use to organize information in a manner that makes the information easier to understand and learn.  Graphic organizers are effective in enabling students to assimilate new information by organizing it in visual and logical ways (Bromley, Irwin-Devitis, & Modlo, 1995).  Flowcharts, semantic maps, t-charts, webs, KWL charts, and Venn diagrams are all examples of graphic organizers.

Using graphic organizers is associated with improved reading comprehension for students (Robinson, Robinson, & Katayama, 1999). In addition, graphic organizers have been effectively applied across other content areas, such as science, math, and social studies (Guastello, Beasley, & Sinatra, 2000; Hanselman, 1996).


Videos


Websites

Literacy Matters

Scholastic

Learning Log

Rationale

A learning log is a notebook, binder, or some other repository that students maintain in order to record ideas, questions, reactions, and reflections, and to summarize newly learned content.  Documenting ideas in a log about content being read and studied forces students to “put into words” what they know or do not know (Audet, Hichman, & Dobrynina, 1996).  This process offers a reflection of understanding that can lead to further study and alternative learning paths (Baker, 2003).  It combines writing and reading with content learning (McIntosh & Draper, 2001; Sanders, 1985).  Learning logs can become the place for virtually any kind of content-focused writing (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).


Videos


Websites

Instructional Strategies Online

Lesson Impressions

Rationale

Lesson impressions create situational interest in the content to be covered by capitalizing on students’ curiosity (McGinley & Denner, 1987). Strategies such as these have been found to increase motivation by heightening anticipation and providing a meaningful purpose for learning (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004). By asking students to form a written impression of the topic to be discussed or text to be read, they become eager to discover how closely their impression text matches the actual content (Brozo, 2004).  This approach has been found to keep students focused and engaged during a lesson.  The approach can be used before students encounter any information source (e.g., textbook chapter, lecture, guest speaker, DVD, WebQuest, field trip, etc.). 

Opinionnaire

Rationale

White and Johnson (2001) discovered that opinionniares are highly beneficial in promoting deep and meaningful understandings of content area topics by activating and building relevant prior knowledge and building interest in and motivation to learn more about particular topics.  Opinionnaires also promote self-examination, value students’ points of view, and provide a vehicle for influencing others with their ideas.

Opinionnaires are developed by generating statements about a topic that force students to take positions and defend them.  The emphasis is on students’ points of view and not the “correctness” of their opinions.  By taking a stand on issues related to the topic of study and engaging in critical discussion about those issues, students not only heighten their expectation of the content to follow but also made many new connections from their opinions and ideas to those of their classmates. 

Similar to the anticipation guide, the opinionnaire involves giving students a list of statements about the topic to be studied and asking them to respond to them before reading and learning, and then again after reading and learning. While the anticipation guide strategy works well with information that is verifiable, the opinonnaire is better suited to ideas that are open to debate and discussion. Like anticipation guides, opinionnaires can activate prior knowledge of text topics and help students set purposes for reading and learning (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).


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Websites

Content Strategies

 

Process Guide

Rationale

As students progress through information sources learning about a content area topic, their processing of the information and concepts can be guided.  Process guides scaffold students’ comprehension within unique formats.  They‘re designed to stimulate students’ thinking during or after their reading, listening, or involvement in any content area instruction. Guides also help students focus on important information and ideas, making their reading or listening more efficient (Kintsch, 2005; Kintsch & Kintsch, 2005).   Process guides prompt thinking ranging from simple recall to connecting information and ideas to prior experience, applying new knowledge, and problem-solving (Best, Rowe, Ozuru, & McNamara, 2005). 

Professor Know-It-All

Rationale

Once coverage of content has been completed, the professor know-it-all strategy can be enacted.  The strategy is appropriate after reading a story, a chapter from a novel or textbook, a lecture or presentation, a field trip, a film, or any other information source. Professor-know-it-all is an effective review strategy because it positions students as “experts” on topics to inform their peers and be challenged and held accountable by them (Paris & Paris, 2001; Zimmerman, 2002). Other benefits are that students become well versed in the content, learn to ask a variety of questions at different levels of difficulty, and actively participate in the review process (Boekaerts,  Pintrich, & Zeidner, 2000; Spratt & Leung, 2000).


Videos


Websites

Tift College of Education

Questioning the Author (QtA) & Questioning the Content (QtC)

Rationale

Students need to be taught that they can, and should, ask questions of authors and of the content as they read and learn.  The goal of QtA and QtC is the same--to teach students to use a questioning process to construct meaning.  QtA works particularly well when students are reading a text with a known or actual author.  QtC, on the other hand, encourages students to ask and answer questions when negotiating any information source.  QtA and QtC involve the teacher and the class in a collaborative process of building understanding during reading and learning (Beck & McKeown, 2001).  The teacher participates in QtA and QtC as a facilitator, guide, initiator, and responder.  The teacher strives to elicit students’ thinking while keeping them focused in their discussion (Beck & McKeown, 2002).


Videos

QtA - YouTube


Websites

QtA - ReadWriteThink

QtA - Reading Rockets

QtA - Scholastic - "Improving Comprehension with Questioning the Author"

RAFT Writing

Rationale

Once students have acquired new content information and concepts they need opportunities to rework, apply, and extend their understandings (Graham, 2005).  RAFT writing is uniquely suited to do just that (Santa & Havens, 1995).  This form of writing gives students the freedom to project themselves into unique roles and look at content from unique perspectives.  From these roles and perspectives, RAFT writing has been used to explain processes, describe a point of view, envision a potential job or assignment, or solve a problem (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).  It’s the kind of writing that when crafted appropriately should be creative and informative.

     R – Role (role of the writer)

     A – Audience (to whom or what the RAFT is being written)

     F – Form (the form the writing will take, as in letter, song, etc.)

     T – Topic (the subject focus of the writing)  


Videos


Websites

Dare to Differentiate

ReadWriteThink

Reading Rockets

Reciprocal Teaching

Rationale

Reciprocal teaching is a strategy in which the teacher models and the students use summarizing, questioning, clarifying, and predicting to better understand content text (Palincsar & Brown, 1984).  Because the emphasis is on understanding these four processes, students will need many exposures and much practice with each.  The benefits of reciprocal teaching are well-documented.  The approach has been shown to increase comprehension, overall achievement, and standardized test scores (Alfassi, 1998; Rosenshine & Meister, 1994).


Videos

Fab Four Read-Aloud from Reciprocal Teaching - YouTube

Summarization 6 Reciprocal Teaching Pt 1 -YouTube


Websites

Intervention Central

NCREL

Reading Rockets

SPAWN Writing

Rationale

Students need regular content-focused writing opportunities in the classroom (Graham & Perrin, 2007; Sorcinelli & Elbow, 1997).  Writing to learn in the content areas can be fostered with SPAWN prompts (Martin, Martin, & O’Brien, 1984).  SPAWN is an acronym that stands for five categories of writing prompts (Special Powers, Problem Solving, Alternative Viewpoints, What If?, and Next), which can be crafted in numerous ways to stimulate students’ predictive, reflective, and critical thinking about content-area topics.


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Websites

TLTC

Split-Page Notetaking

Rationale

Notetaking is an essential skill students must develop in order to be effective readers and learners in the content areas (Broz & Simpson, 2007).  The sheer volume of information, vocabulary, and concepts students are expected to learn will be easier if they develop a notetaking system that facilitates meaningful reading and listening (Faber, Morris, & Lieberman, 2000; Lebauer, 2000), leads to an organized record of learning (Titsworth & Kiewra, 2004), and makes review and study efficient (Williams & Eggert, 2002). 


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Websites

Split Page Notetaking

TLTC

SQPL - Student Questions for Purposeful Learning

Rationale

All students need to develop the ability to read, listen, and learn with a purpose (Brozo & Simpson, 2007).  Purposeful learning is associated with higher levels of engagement and achievement (Ediger & Pavlik, 1999; Schunk & Zimmerman, 1998).  When students learn purposefully they focus and sustain attention (Guthrie & Humenick, 2004).  SQPL promotes purposeful reading and learning by prompting students to ask and answer their own questions about content.


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Websites

SQPL

Story Chains and Text Chains

Rationale

As with other content-focused writing strategies, the story chain or text chain strategy gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of newly learned material (Bangert-Drowns, Hurley, & Wilkinson, 2004).  Story chains and text chains are especially useful for promoting application of content area concepts through writing (Saddler, Moran, Graham, & Harris, 2004).  The story chain process involves a small group of students writing a story using the information and concepts being learned.  The story chain will include a beginning, middle, and a logical ending or solution to a problem.  The text chain process is similar but may result in written products other than stories, such as brief essays, descriptions of processes, and explanations of computations.  By writing out new understandings in a collaborative context, students provide themselves and the teacher a reflection of their developing knowledge (Graham & Perin, 2007).  


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Websites

Story Chain

Vocabulary Cards

Rationale

Vocabulary knowledge is one of the five essential components of effective reading (RAND Reading Study Group, 2002).  The content areas are packed with concepts and technical vocabulary that students must understand if they are to be successful readers and learners (Harmon, Hedrick, & Wood, 2005).  A strategy designed to help students learn content-specific terminology is the use of vocabulary cards (Blachowicz & Fisher, 2002).  This strategy has been shown to increase depth and breadth of word knowledge, resulting in greater comprehension (Rekrut, 1996).

Vocabulary Self-Awareness

Rationale

Because students bring a range of word understandings to the learning of new topics in the content areas,  it is important to assess students’ vocabulary knowledge before reading or other tasks involving text (Fisher, Brozo, Frey, & Ivey, 2006).  This awareness is valuable for students because it highlights their understanding of what they know, as well as what they still need to learn in order to fully comprehend the reading (Goodman, 2001).


Videos


Websites

Content Strategies

Road to Teaching

Vocabulary Strategies

Word Grid

Rationale

The word grid is an effective visual technique for helping students learn important related terms and concepts from the content areas (Baumann, Kame’enui, & Ash, 2003). It provides students with an organized framework for learning words by analyzing the similarities and differences of key features (Johnson & Pearson, 1984).  Learning vocabulary through the use of word grids allows students to contextualize vocabulary knowledge, which increases comprehension of disciplinary texts (Nagy & Scott, 2000).